It takes a whale of a lot of organizing, collaboration, planning and preparation to put together the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund’s “Celebrity Waiters” benefit dinner. And an impressive group of folks are involved in making a success of the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Link.
In the midst of one of last winter’s many snowstorm, the dinner reaped an amazing $23,000 that was matched by an anonymous donor. The money raised is used to help Rappahannock citizens in time of emergency need who can’t otherwise qualify for assistance.
To top the first year’s success, more than 30 people signed up to headline the 2011 festivities as “Celebrity Waiters” (quite a few more than depicted in the photo in last week’s Rappahannock News by Ray Boc). Backing them are sponsors who have agreed to host more than 24 tables of guests of eight to 10 people each, and also work on arrangements, prepping, cooking and tidying up. And behind all of them is the ad hoc planning and organizing team of Alice Anderson, Beverly Atkins, Delma Bagley, Georgia Gilpin and Bette Mahoney. They are eager to welcome additional volunteers. (Call Sharon Pyne at 540-675-3313 if you are interested.)
One volunteer spoke for many. “It is time and effort well spent,” Bagley said. “Newcomers as well as those who are longtime or lifelong residents pitch in and work hand in hand to create a truly enjoyable evening – and, with everything donated, every penny raised goes to help neighbors faced by hardship.”
Ticket sales are going strong at $50 per advance ticket. Total attendance may well reach 300.
As the celebrity waiters serve they also entertain and cajole donations from one and all. There will be no lack of creative thinking and table themes will vary widely, as sponsors and celebrity waiters dream up creative ideas and proffer a vast assortment of attractive incentives, which last year ranged from talented music and unique, fun-filled performances, to fancy cocktails, desserts, auction items and vacation trips.
Bette Mahoney noted that all monies raised by the celebrity waiters (both admissions/ticket sales and tips) flows directly into the Benevolent Fund, which has no administrative costs.
The evening’s entertainment will also feature a paid professional act, this year a flamenco performer of note. The theme will be “Winter Wonderland” and the Link’s grand hall will be decorated accordingly. An extensive dinner menu of fine cuisine, breads, desserts with drinks including wine and beer will be offered. Local chefs and cooks will do the preparation. The Greve Foundation and several local and area businesses are helping to pick up the tab to cover costs. All who support the event by volunteering, donating or sponsoring will be recognized individually for their contribution both at the event and in a later article.
As the year progresses, grants from the Benevolent Fund will help to buy food, medicines, pay for utilities, repairs and other necessities for those unable to do so.
Checks from the fund are distributed directly to vendors and requests seeking support are processed by the county’s churches, and service agencies such as fire, rescue and police.